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Sterling close to this week’s low versus dollar ahead of U.S. data

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Sterling close to this week’s low versus dollar ahead of U.S. data By Reuters

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Forex 1 hour ago (Oct 07, 2022 10:00)

© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: Woman holds British pound banknotes in this illustration taken May 30, 2022. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic/Illustration/File Photo

(Reuters) – Sterling was slightly higher on Friday but still within striking distance of this week’s low against the dollar while concerns about the budget plan kept weighing on UK assets.

Analysts expect the pound to be rangebound ahead of a crucial jobs report later in the day as investors looked for clues on how much further U.S. rates would need to rise.

The Bank of England kept taking measures to stabilise financial markets and bought 154.5 million pounds of long-dated British government bonds on Thursday at its daily reverse auction in its first purchases since Monday.

UK finance minister Kwasi Kwarteng announced 45 billion pounds of tax cuts on Sept. 23, triggering an abrupt sell-off on bond markets that forced the BoE to intervene. Kwarteng is due to announce a medium-term fiscal plan later this month.

The pound was up 0.1% at $1.1168, not far off this week’s low at $1.1086. It ended the week barely flat.

The dollar fell slightly after strong overnight gains on Friday, buoyed by hawkish Federal Reserve speakers with investors looking to a key jobs report later in the day.

“We still deem the pound’s current levels as unsustainable given the fragility in the bond market and the UK’s deteriorated fiscal and current account position,” ING analysts said.

“A return to sub-1.10 levels (versus U.S. dollar) is a question of when rather than if,” they added.

Analysts argued that scrapping Kwarteng’s proposed removal of the top rate of tax amounts to only a small share of the mini-budget presented by the government, while they rely on BoE intervention to avoid more market turmoil.

British Prime Minister Liz Truss on Mondayreversed a cut to the highest income tax rate.

The euro was down 0.2% against the pound at 87.54 pence.

A potential acceleration in the UK housing market decline can be another downside risk for the economy and the pound.

British house prices fell for the second time in three months in September in month-on-month terms, and rising borrowing costs are likely to exert “more significant downward pressure” soon, mortgage lender Halifax said on Friday.

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